Statement by H.E. Ambassador Jun Yamazaki,
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At UNICEF Executive Board, First regular session 2014
4 February 2014
At the outset, I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to you, Ambassador Macharia Kamau of Kenya, on your election as the President of the Executive Board for 2014 and to the newly elected four Vice-Presidents. I would also like to thank Ambassador Jarmo Viinanen of Finland for his excellent work as President during the last session. Furthermore I would like to thank the Executive Director, Mr. Anthony Lake, for his detailed statement this morning.
Last September, at the General Debate of the General Assembly, Prime Minister Abe said, “I wish to bring about a society where women shine, both within Japan and also in regions in conflict and countries suffering from poverty.” He emphasized three policy priorities; “the necessity of promoting women’s participation in society and of the empowerment of women,” “the importance of maternal, newborn and child health,” and “the importance of women’s participation and protection in the areas of peace and security.” Prime Minister Abe announced the intention of Japan to implement ODA in excess of 3 billion USD over the three years from 2013 to 2015 in the field of women’s empowerment including these three areas.
In this context, my delegation appreciates the fact that UNICEF has been working on its Gender Action Plan 2014-2017 under the leadership of the Executive Director and in close consultation with relevant United Nations organizations including UNDP, UNFPA and UN-Women. We are especially interested in such elements as finding new ways to improve gender equality, setting gender-equality indicators, publishing said indicators for respective projects and the division of work vis-a-vis other agencies. We expect UNICEF to maintain a transparent process for finalizing the Action Plan by, for example, providing opportunities for dialogue with Member States.
Japan regards Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as an important agenda and highly values UNICEF’s approach to DRR, such as through “DRR for Children & DRR with Children." Japan will be hosting the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2015 in the city of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture. We very much look forward to the success of the Conference in close cooperation with the United Nations organizations including UNICEF. In this context, we thank the Executive Director, Mr. Lake, for accepting the invitation by our Foreign Minister to visit Japan at the end of this month. We certainly look forward to Mr. Lake having fruitful dialogue with our political leaders and appreciate the fact that he will be re-visiting Miyagi Prefecture, a place that was also included in his last visit in 2011.
The Government of Japan regards health and in particular children’s health as crucially important. It is deeply linked to human security. A common understanding on human security was elaborated in the General Assembly resolution adopted by consensus during its 66th session in 2012. In this regard, we consider it important that the United Nations organizations, including UNICEF, continue to move ahead and implement relevant projects.
Japan welcomes the Strengthening Humanitarian Action initiative which UNICEF is undertaking in order to meet the commitments laid out in the UNICEF Strategic Plan for 2014-2017.
Japan is fully aware of the importance of the "No Lost Generation" strategy, which seeks to provide protection and education to the children of Syria. Japan intends to continue humanitarian assistance working with UNICEF in Syria and its neighboring countries affected by the crisis, including utilizing about 120 million USD as announced by Japan during the recent conference in Kuwait.
In the Central African Republic, where the situation has markedly deteriorated since March 2013, about 20% of the population has been displaced within the country. We are paying close attention to the some 2 million children at risk in CAR. My country is now preparing an assistance programme for CAR through the supplementary budget for Fiscal Year 2013.
We appreciate the role of implementing partners and partnerships. In that regard, we encourage UNICEF to continue ensuring timely contracting and allocation of funds.
I wish to conclude my statement by stating that we look forward to UNICEF, under the very able leadership of the Executive Director, Mr. Lake, continuing its work in an effective and efficient manner with even sharper focus, while attaching importance to equity and inclusiveness.